During May, Gloucestershire Airport has handled more flights than London City and Bristol airports.
In its list of the 15 busiest airports in the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority has ranked the Staverton-based airport 10 places behind Heathrow, using figures that are based on the number of flights as opposed to the number of passengers.
Gloucestershire airport handled slightly fewer than 7,000 flights in May, making it the 11th most active airport in the UK, and the airport has handled more than 42,000 flights so far this year.
Head of operations, Darren Lewington, said: ‘The airport has had an exceptionally busy few months. The fine weather has helped in recent weeks, but there’s also a noticeable increase in business aviation traffic, which is encouraging for us and the county as a whole. Commercially, our marketplace is still exceptionally challenging.
‘It will take us longer than we anticipated to reach the increased profitability we forecast in our business planning but this is hardly surprising in the face of the global economic downturn, record fuel prices and the lengthy delays to our runway safety project,’ he said, adding: ‘These latest CAA figures are encouraging and we are beginning to see consistent signs of recovery that will help to deliver our long-term business goals.’
The airport also had to deal with complex legal agreements relating to the land it uses, which also resulted in delays to its safer runway project, which had led to increased costs. ‘The political processes associated with the runway project took longer than the airport or councils anticipated,’ Mr. Lewington said.
The airport contributes about £250 million to the local economy every year.